7 First Apartment Expenses You Need in Your Budget
Entering the real world and starting your first job may lead you to moving out and renting your first apartment. While living on your own has its perks, renting an apartment comes with many financial responsibilities and expenses. The best advice we can give you is to plan and budget accordingly.
You may be wondering, “what do I pay for in an apartment?” Here are 7 expenses to consider when moving out that you should be budgeting for so you are financially prepared for apartment living.
Aim to spend 30% or less of your monthly income on rent. That percentage may be adjusted depending on your location. Rent contracts are monthly or yearly. If you choose the yearly option, your rent amount should stay consistent from month to month. However, a monthly contract could include rent increases, so be sure to read the fine print. You should be prepared for your rent to likely increase each year you renew your contract. Also, budget for a security deposit, which will be paid at your lease signing.
- Renters Insurance
Protect against damage to your belongings when unexpected events occur by taking out renters insurance. As part of your lease agreement, it's common for landlords to require this insurance. While relatively inexpensive, renters insurance can save you thousands of dollars should a fire or theft occur. Obtain a few quotes and compare insurance costs to ensure your customized insurance policy fits your lifestyle and budget. If you own a vehicle, bundling your auto and renters insurance may cut costs even more.
- Common Utility Bills in an Apartment
What bills do you pay in an apartment? As a renter, you may be responsible for paying for monthly utilities, such as electricity, heat, water and garbage. Landlords often pay for some utility costs but not all. Make sure to pay your utility bills on time because utility companies can turn off your utilities if money is owed. Consider setting up automatic bill payments, but always ensure you have money in your account to cover the costs. Also, monitor your utility usage and consider cutting back where you can.
Cell phone, internet, cable and streaming services are all bills that you may be responsible for paying. Many providers offer internet and cable installation discounts for new renters and package choices or bundles, so be sure to shop around for a good deal that works for you. Also, consider your needs and wants. Do you need cable and five streaming services, or could you be happy with fewer options? These costs may seem small but eliminating services will save you money in your monthly budget.
- Furniture and Household Items
Most apartments are unfurnished and are much bigger than a dorm room. Before going on a shopping spree for chairs or cookware, take stock of what you have and make a list of essential items you need. These costs can add up quickly, so look for discounts and freebies when possible and consider adding some essential items over time. Ask friends or family members for extra items they may be willing to spare and recruit them to help you move. This will save you money on moving costs.
- Groceries and Transportation
Living alone, you must feed yourself—and food costs money. Factor in monthly food costs and think about how frequently you will dine out versus buy groceries. Again, as with your furniture and household items, determine your essentials and look for food deals to help you grocery shop on a budget. Will you have a vehicle or use public transportation, and will you have parking fees? Vehicles need gas and car insurance. Compare your options and see which transportation is economical and a fit for you.
- Miscellaneous Expenses
When budgeting for an apartment, it’s important to factor in miscellaneous expenses. If you’re moving to a new area or just out of your family home, you may need to open a new membership at a gym located near your new home. Subscription expenses may come up as well, for example, streaming or shopping services. Overall, leave some room in your budget for the extras.
Are you looking to cut costs even more? Consider sharing your space with a roommate. Often, a two-bedroom apartment where you split costs with a buddy is more cost-efficient than living alone. No matter what you choose, work smarter not harder and plan your expected budget before moving in. That way, you will not be shocked by your costs as a new renter.
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